The Internet is full of advice about staging your home before
you put it on the market. You want to de-clutter, make repairs, and
clean like a madwoman. Buyers are looking for their dream house,
and their vision of a perfect home doesn't involve fingerprint
smudges on the staircase walls and your 8-year-old daughter's dirty
leotard on the bedroom floor.
Which means that while our house is for sale, we're living a
lie. We're now the kind of family with no family photos on the
walls and no kid art on the fridge. (Rule #9: Remove overly
personal possessions.) We don't have dirty dishes in the sink,
clean dishes drying on the rack or a stockpot resting on the stove.
In fact, we're the family that miraculously prepares and enjoys
meals without knives, wooden spoons and cooking smells! We leave no
smudges on the granite countertops and no crumbs on the hardwood
floors. Which is good, because you won't find a trash can in sight!
(Rule #14: the kitchen sells the house.)
When a showing is scheduled, we're the family that showers
without shampoo and conditioner and brushes our teeth without
toothbrushes and paste. In our bathroom hang fluffy, brilliantly
white towels than never get damp; and our sink and tub remain
miraculously clean and dry. (Rule #21: the bathroom should evoke a
For the last couple of weeks, my husband and I have been
clearing off and hiding (and not always finding) the detritus of
everyday family life-electric bills, library books, school forms,
lunch boxes and kicked-off shoes. Having strangers walk through
your home-opening your cabinets and peeking into your closets - is
an uncomfortably intimate experience. So for everyone's comfort,
I'll keep on living this lie. Until the contract is signed and the
moving boxes can come out, we'll continue pretending ours is a
picture perfect life where no one needs deodorant, mouthwash or
tampons. Where kids don't leave their beds unmade, their
half-finished art projects on table and Barbie naked on the
Where the lights are on, the blinds are up and nobody's
Alma Klein has been blogging since 2006. She works full-time as a creative director at a shopper marketing agency in Chicago and lives in the practically-perfect village of Oak Park with her husband Josh and elementary school-aged daughters.
See more of Alma's stories here.
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